The Amish are a rapidly growing, North American Christian denomination that descends from the 16th-century Anabaptist movement in Germanic Europe. Because of their conspicuous socioreligious practices, the Amish have been of interest to social scientists, medical and genetic researchers, and linguists. This entry includes a brief overview of Amish history and demographics in the United States. It continues with a description of Amish beliefs and practices and the interest the community holds for social science researchers.


The Amish formed in the late 1600s as an Anabaptist branch in the Swiss–German–French border region. These were a new wave of converts who challenged the established Swiss Brethren (Mennonite) churches’ laxity toward the Dordrecht religious articles agreed on with the Dutch Mennonites in 1632. Points of difference included the ...

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